|Stories, favorites and great (2 Records)
Stories, favorites and great
|Daniel's gloves #EZ.25376 Exp 11-22|
An Anonymous Story called "Daniel's Gloves" (Author Unknown or is it? Please. Read on.)
I'm sitting with two friends, behind the picture window at a quaint restaurant just off the town-square's corner. That day, food and company were both especially good.
As we talked, my attention was drawn outside, across the street. There, walking into town, a man appeared to be carrying all his worldly goods on his back, and, a well-worn sign: 'will work for food.' My heart sank.
I brought him to my friends' attention and noticed patrons around us, too, had stopped eating to watch. Heads moved, a mixture of sadness and disbelief.
We continued, but his image lingered. Finished, we went our separate ways. I had errands. I glanced toward the town square, looking somewhat halfheartedly for him. I was fearful, knowing just finding him again would beckon to me to make some response.
I drove through town and saw nothing. I made some purchases and got back in my car. Deep within me, the Spirit of God kept speaking: 'Don't go back to the office until you've at least driven around the square once more.'
Hesitantly, I headed back. As I turned the square's third corner, there he was. He stood on the store front church's steps, going through his sack.
I stopped, feeling both compelled to speak to him, yet wanting to drive on.
An empty parking space at the corner seemed to be a sign, an invitation to park.
'Looking for the pastor?' I asked.
'Not really,' he replied, 'just resting.'
'Have you eaten today?'
'Oh, I ate something early this morning.'
'Would you like to have lunch with me?'
'Do you have some work I could do for you?'
'No work,' I replied. 'I commute here to work from the city, but I would like to take you to lunch.'
'Sure,' he replied with a smile.
As he gathered his things, I asked only surface questions. "Where you headed?'
' St.. Louis '
'Where are you from?'
'Oh, all over; mostly Florida ....'
'How long have you been walking?'
That's when I knew I had just met someone special.
We sat across from each other in the same restaurant I had left earlier. His face was weathered slightly beyond his 38 years. His eyes were dark, yet clear, and he spoke with a startling eloquence, articulation. Under his jacket a bright red T-shirt said, 'Jesus is The Never Ending Story.'
Daniel's story unfolded. He'd seen rough times early in life, made some wrong choices, reaped consequences. Fourteen years earlier, while backpacking across the country, he had stopped on the beach in Daytona. He tried to hire on with some men putting up a large tent and some sound equipment. A concert, he thought.
He was hired, but the tent housed revival services, and in those services, he saw life more clearly. He gave his life over to God.
'Nothing's been the same since,' he said, 'I felt the Lord tell me to keep walking, and so I did, some 14 years now.'
'Ever think of stopping?' I asked.
'Oh, once in a while, when it seems to get the best of me. But God has given me this calling. I give out Bibles. That's what's in my sack. I work to buy food and Bibles, and I give them out when His Spirit leads.'
I sat amazed. My new friend was not homeless but on a mission, living his way by choice. The question burned inside for a moment so then I asked: 'What's it like?'
'To walk into a town carrying all your things on your back, show your sign?'
'Oh, humiliating at first. People would stare and comment. Once someone tossed a piece of half-eaten bread and made a certain gesture which wasn't intended to make me feel welcome. But then it became humbling to realize God was using me to touch lives, change people's concepts of other folks like me.'
My concept, too, changed. We finished dessert and gathered his things. Outside, he paused. He turned to me and said, 'Come Ye blessed of my Father and inherit the kingdom I've prepared for you. For when I was hungry you gave me food, when I was thirsty you gave me drink, a stranger and you took me in.'
I felt as if we stood on holy ground. 'Could you use another Bible?' I asked.
He said he preferred a certain translation. It traveled well and was not too heavy. It was also his personal favorite. 'I've read through it 14 times,' he exclaimed.
'I'm not sure we've got one of those, but let's stop by our church to see'. I found a Bible that would do well, and he seemed very grateful.
'Where are you headed from here?' I asked.
'Well, I found this little map on the back of this amusement park coupon.'
'Are you hoping to hire on there for awhile?'
'No, I just figure I should go there. I figure someone under that star right there needs a Bible, so that's where I'm going next.'
He smiled, and the warmth of his spirit radiated his mission's sincerity. I drove him back to the town-square where we'd met two hours earlier, and as we drove, it started raining. We parked and unloaded his things.
'Would you sign my autograph book?' he asked. 'I like to keep messages from folks I meet.'
I wrote his commitment to his calling had touched my life.
I encouraged him to stay strong. And I left him with a scripture verse from Jeremiah, 'I know the plans I have for you, declared the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you; Plans to give you a future and a hope.'
'Thanks, man,' he said. 'I know we just met and we're really just strangers, but I love you.'
'I know,' I said, 'I love you, too.' 'The Lord is good!'
'Yes, He is. How long has it been since someone hugged you?' I asked.
'A long time,' he replied.
And so on that busy street corner, in the drizzle, I embraced my new friend. I felt deep inside I had changed. He put his things on his back, smiled his winning smile and said, 'See you in the New Jerusalem.'
'I'll be there!'
He headed away with his sign dangling from his bedroll and pack of Bibles. He stopped, turned and said, 'When you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'
'You bet,' I shouted back, 'God bless.'
That was the last I saw of him.
Late that evening, as I left my office, the wind blew strong. A cold front had settled hard upon the town. I bundled up and hurried to my car. As I sat back and reached for the emergency brake, I saw them.... a pair of well-worn brown work gloves neatly laid over the length of the handle. I picked them up and thought of my friend and wondered if his hands would stay warm that night.
Then I remembered his words: 'If you see something that makes you think of me, will you pray for me?'
Today his gloves are on my office desk. They help me see the world and its people in a new way, and help me remember those two hours with my unique friend. So I pray for his ministry. 'See you in the New Jerusalem,' he said. Yes, Daniel, I know I will.
'I shall pass this way but once. Therefore, any good I can do, or any kindness I can show, let me do it now, for I shall not pass this way again.'
This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached. Prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There's no cost but rewards. Let's continue to pray for one another. God bless and have a nice day!
'Father, I ask you to bless my friends, relatives and e-mail buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask you to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through your grace, In Jesus' precious Name, Amen.'
|The kiss #EZ.10439 Exp 11-23|
She is pregnant. He had just saved her from a fire in her house, rescuing her by carrying her out of the house into her front yard. He continued to fight the fire. When he finally put the fire out, he sat down to catch his breath, rest.
A photographer from the Charlotte, NC newspaper, noticed her in the distance. She was looking at the firefighter.
The photographer saw her walk straight toward him and wondered what she was going to do. As he raised his camera, she came up to the tired man who had saved her life and the lives of her babies, and kissed him. Just then, the photographer snapped this photograph...
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